Saturday, 26 September 2009

Guest Post: Claire Laurraine Sharples

September's Guest Post is from Claire Laurraine Sharples. She is a creative writing student at UCLAN, and recently worked as part of the team that edited and published Michael Molyneux's collection of poetry. Here she tells us a bit about the behind-the-scenes work that went into the collection, and why, as a writer, the experience was so valuable to her. Claire blogs about the ups and down of the writing-student's life here.

As a writer, I have always been curious about the publishing industry. How do I submit my work to one? What happens to my manuscript? How are books published? I was able to answer these questions by taking part in a publishing project through UCLan’s very own publishing house,
clan – u press.

Being chosen to be one of the five students involved in this publication was an exciting moment for me. We worked alone or as a team, taking on different roles performed in a publishing house: editing, design, promotion, accounting etc. Like the staff of a small publishing house, we were involved with the project from start to finish.

Publishing a book involves different stages so we set deadlines for the tasks to be completed, allowing space in between each one in case anything went wrong. As a team, we sat down with Michael and discussed our ideas and opinions in respect of the design and layout. We read through Michael’s poems, deciding which ones should go into the book. Sitting down together, we sifted through the images that some photography students had taken for us, and chose one for the cover, taking into account Michael’s choice too. The selection process was straight forward but the editing and design was more difficult.

Although Michael’s work had been published before, the manuscript we had contained various errors which had to be corrected. Taking into account that poets can break the rules when using punctuation, it was important we checked any amendments with Michael. We did not want to alter the structure of his poems. The corrected manuscript was dropped into a special software programme that we had been trained to use. A number of drafts were produced before the final one could go to print. All the drafts had to be carefully read through and edited where necessary. We had to come into the publishing house during our spare time. Staff expect to work long hours in this industry and we had to be willing to do the same in order to meet our deadlines.

Michael and the team enjoyed this project and gained valuable experience. For me personally, I developed new skills and an urge to pursue publishing as a career; as a writer I have learnt how to submit my work to publishers, how the process will work and what is expected of both publishers and authors. Good communication and developing a good relationship with your editor are the two main important issues I have learnt. My editing skills come in useful when I read through my work. Finally, I will be able to mention this valuable experience when I apply for internships next year.

Other recent publications from clan-u press include a local history book; “Memories of Frenchwood”, Beaumont College artwork; “Response” and poetry anthologies; “Taste” and “Therefore I am... For further information of the press and their publications, please send your enquiry to

1 comment:

  1. Theres some footage of Michael Molyneux reading at Word Soup here